Need to get things in perspective? Then escape the ambient light of LA, lie on the desert floor and look up. The view will take your breath away — stardust scattered like grains of silver sand across an indigo sky. Light reaching us from the inky blackness of space is thousands, sometimes millions, of years old. As you are looking up, you are also looking back in time.
I lie on a blanket, a pillow under my head, a pair of binoculars and a star map in my hand. I gaze through the binoculars, a poor man’s telescope. I’m a closet star-spotter, finding patterns in the randomness of space and rejoicing in names like Ursa Major and Andromeda. I lose myself and find myself at the same time in the infinite depths.
This month, low in the western sky just after sunset, you can get a glimpse of Mercury. This scorched and barren planet is closest to the Sun and has an unusual, highly elliptical orbit that causes it to change speed as it journeys around the Sun. Mercury is at its slowest when it’s furthest from the Sun, giving Earth a chance to “catch up.” Much like driving next to a car on the freeway that speeds past you and then slows down, this motion creates the illusion that Mercury travels backwards in the night sky at certain times of the year. These cycles are called Mercury retrogrades and are traditionally blamed for confusion, delay and frustration.
Don’t worry, Mercury doesn’t enter its next retrograde until September 17; and as any astrologer will tell you, Mercury’s influence will depend on your own astrological makeup. My personal experience of Mercury in retrograde has been frustrating at times — but the chance to revisit, re-experience and re-do has been valuable, even advantageous.
Frequently during a retrograde, I see absent students returning to the studio and remembering how good they feel after class. People from my past seem to make their way into my thoughts or dreams, then randomly call or get in touch. The retrograde reminds me to be specific when I communicate and make sure that I dot the “I’s” and cross the “T’s” when completing paperwork. I can re-launch a class or theme and find people interested and engaged.
I found the new studio space on the cusp of the last retrograde in May while I was reminiscing about Body Venture, a women’s gym I used to work at over 20 years ago, located in the same shopping center as Yoga Nook @ Fifth. The new yoga studio is a re-visiting in so many ways for me, and as we prepare to launch on September 8, just a little before the next retrograde, I find myself in familiar surroundings geographically, emotionally and physically. As we work to create the same warm, comfortable and safe environment in this new space, I hope to ride the wave of Mercury’s influence, giving people a chance to reinvest in their relationship with Yoga, the Nook and themselves.
Image credit: NASA Goddard Space Flight Center via Flickr (CC)